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Gov’t to close Pohang geothermal power plant

May 10,2019
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy plans to announce the closure of a controversial geothermal power plant under construction in Pohang, North Gyeongsang, this month, officials said Thursday.

Provincial government officials in North Gyeongsang, to which Pohang belongs, told a provincial council meeting that the Energy Ministry has approved the termination of the Pohang geothermal power plant project on the recommendation of a state-run institution and will make a formal announcement before the end of May.

A state-led investigation team said March 20 that a 5.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Pohang on Nov. 15, 2017, could have been triggered by the geothermal power plant under construction in the southeastern port city since 2012.

The second-most powerful earthquake to jolt Korea left about 1,700 people homeless and more than 80 injured.

The investigation team said fluids were injected at high pressure into a hole about 4 or 5 kilometers deep at the geothermal power plant, which may have caused the surrounding rock to crack, triggering the seismic activity.

At a meeting of the North Gyeongsang Provincial Council’s special anti-earthquake committee, the provincial government reported that the state-run Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning has decided on the closure of the Pohang geothermal power plant and Nexgeo, a company that manages the project consortium, has not lodged any complaint.

“The Energy Ministry has approved the closure decision and is now choosing a date for its official announcement,” the provincial government said.

The provincial council’s special committee also decided to ask the central government for extraordinary compensation measures for Pohang citizens damaged by the earthquake apparently caused by the geothermal power plant project.